Social-political studies have shown the evidence that black women face discrimination on an intersectional level that is often swept under the rug.
By Aaminat Bakare
Photo Credit: Aaminat Bakare
Royanne Lowe, the President of CSI’s Black Women’s Initiative, brought the organization’s vision to fruition.
Black women are often neglected and ignored when it comes to social issues.
The intersectionality of their identities make them the most marginalized group, according to Civil Rights leader and activist, Malcolm X.
In modern times, organizations centered around black women have been established as a sort of safe space for them.
“We try to bring awareness to black women in our club,” said Royanne Lowe. “But anybody is allowed to come no matter their race or gender.”
Lowe, the president of the Black Women’s Initiative, explained that the organization is inclusive to everyone. The goal is to establish unity in the CSI community.
CSI, as well as other CUNY and SUNY colleges, have diverse student populations. The black population of students has been steadily increasing, which could be said for other minority groups as well.
America has a history with bigotry that affected minority groups; specifically black people. A racial divide better known as segregation, was considered the norm since the early twentieth century.
Nuances of racism, especially towards black people denied them any sort of human rights. They weren’t even seen as human beings at one point in time, which was made evident by the 1787 Three-fifths compromise.
Women experience sexism on a systematic level too. All American women, no matter what race they are, could not vote until the nineteenth amendment was put into action.
The gender wage gap affects all women, especially black women, since they also experience racist biases at the workplace.
In 2017, a black woman earned 61 cents compared to a dollar earned by a white man, according to the Center of American Progress.
Black women also experience medical racism and are not taken care of properly by doctors, compared to their white female counterparts in procedures like childbirth. Many social activists bring that fact up to the forefront because of how many black women’s lives are put at risk.
They are often not taken seriously by white doctors when they express their complaints and worries about physical pain and ailments.
This can be compared to how black men are attacked by authority figures like the police and potentially killed by firearms. Black men specifically are perceived as dangerous and aggressive.
“Sometimes we talk about more serious things,” said Obadimu. “Gun violence is something that greatly affects the black community.”
Elizabeth Obadimu, Public Relations representative of the Black Women’s Initiative, explained that sometimes they try to keep the mood at their meetings as light-hearted as they can. Other times, there are spoken lectures and slideshows displayed for more pressing matters like police brutality.
Black women are targeted by the police like their male counterparts, although black men are the face of police brutality.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was another one of the black victims of police violence. His death sparked social unrest for Black Lives Matter activists and in the following weeks after that, protests were all over the streets.
Three months prior to Floyd’s death, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in Kentucky by police officers. This incident did not get immediate attention like the one in May, which some black activists deem “unfair and unjust.”
Around 250 black women have been fatally shot since 2015, according to The Washington Post.
The hashtag, Say Her Name, is a reminder of Taylor’s life that has been taken by police violence. In mid-2020, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are known for their hashtags and quickly trending topics, were loaded with posts regarding Taylor and the injustices committed against her by the police.
“At CSI there are other black clubs,” said Tabansi. “There’s actually a Black Men’s Initiative that we collaborated with.”
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